Napoleon IV – The Rebirth of the French Colonial Empire?
By Marin Katusa
In December 2012, François Bozize, president of the Central African Republic, was on his knees and begging its former colonial ruler, France, for assistance to combat the Seleka coalition rebels. The group was fast approaching the capital city of Bangui, having just captured the third-largest city, Bambari, and mowing over the rich diamond-mining area around Brea. It was a scenario almost right out of the movie Blood Diamond.
Angered by France’s lack of help and the surging rebel attacks, hundreds of protesters surrounded the French embassy and hurled rocks and burned flags. Nevertheless, French President François Hollande coldly refused aid, even though he had three military bases at his fingertips. The troops will only be used to protect French nationals.
Fast forward to a month later: in January 2013, President François Hollande agreed to a request from the government of Mali for foreign aid and that French forces will provide support for Mali. The country was suffering a rebel uprising of its own, and was forced to turn to its former colonial rulers for help. France complied and dispatched its troops, including airstrike crews and conventional ground forces.
So why the change of heart? Was Mali one of France’s favorite former colonies? Was France actually afraid of the Islamist rebels? Or does it have something to do with France importing 80% of its uranium from certain African countries?
In a pseudosituation similar to that of the United States and the Gulf War, France is in Africa to ensure its resources are safe and to remove any hostile dictators. Not like other European countries, France has a stronghold in Africa with military bases stretching across its former empire. It is no surprise that Mali has enormous potential uranium deposits, but France is also in Mali to prevent rebel activity from spreading to neighboring Niger, where French company Areva has two uranium projects and almost ten million pounds of uranium production.
Uranium has a strong history of being a commodity controlled by the government. The United States did it during the Cold War and sparked one of the greatest bull runs in the history of uranium. With France’s supply in danger, the country may also be forced to take radical steps to ensure its supply is not interfered with. This – accompanied with Russia and China already hoarding as much supply as they can – feels like we are in the beginning stages of full-out firefight.
Fortunately, uranium and the politics behind it is something Casey Research has covered for over a decade. In fact, we’re a household name in this segment of the energy sector, and for good reason – some of our largest wins have come in uranium-company speculations, including a number of 10-baggers (in other words, 1,000% gains… in good and bad markets).
Uranium bull runs definitely do not occur often, but they can and do happen. And with worldwide competition heating up for the radioactive metal, odds of another 10-bagger are high – and we intend to be in on it. We invite you to join us by taking a risk-free trial of our premium energy sector advisory, Casey Energy Report.
Russian, Iranian Foreign Chiefs Meet over Iran’s Nuclear Program (Voice of Russia)
To the chagrin of the West, Russia is looking to work with Iran and its nuclear program. This is another example of Putin’s reach, and how he is more concerned with securing controversial, energy-important diplomatic ties than appeasing other countries. While the program is small, we expect the Middle East to eventually become one of the largest consumers of uranium, especially when oil and gas reserves begin to fall more rapidly.
Energy Minister Lays Out Alberta’s New Oil Strategy (Global Edmonton)
It is apparent that Alberta will ship its oil globally, with or without Keystone XL. There are many options on the table now that do not require approval from the Obama administration, so the crude-oil differential will definitely narrow – it is just a matter of when.
Solar Panel Makers Grapple with Hazardous Waste Problem (Financial Post)
This story has been gaining some traction, exposing the dirty side of solar energy. Not only is solar more expensive than conventional methods of energy, it is also not as green as everyone expected. In the end, an industry will only succeed if it is economical first, so it is not the hazardous waste that will stunt the solar industry. We expect that as technology in this space increases, the hazardous waste problem will decrease.
Highly successful mining investor and philanthropist Frank Giustra gave a wide-ranging interview with his friend and longtime colleague Michael Campbell at the recently held World Outlook Financial Conference.